LETTERS: Poverty in RGV

Poverty in RGV

The Rio Grande Valley is a relatively small region where many people call home. Our tiny region is filled with rich culture, lots of history and loving people. The Valley, however, is nowhere near perfect, and several issues still tug on our local government.

A problem that not only affects the Valley but the entire country is poverty. According to Valley Central, an estimated 54.8% of Valley residents live in poverty.

Poverty increases health risks, putting families under a great amount of stress. Poorer families struggling to make ends meet most likely would have less food on the table. Children who grow up in these homes will be malnourished, and in turn will struggle to comprehend school work in comparison to a child whose household has a stable income. These children will have a much more difficult time trying to learn and succeed. They are much more vulnerable to disease and illness, and their limited development opportunities and mental and physical capacity usually means the cycle of poverty persists.

There are several reasons why poverty exists in our cities, one of which is lack of education. Today’s children are tomorrow’s future, but if children aren’t given the education necessary to succeed, how is a small town along the border going to move forward if students aren’t given a safe environment to focus on their studies instead of worrying about their next meal?

According to ChildFund International, poverty reduces a child’s readiness to attend school because it contributes to poor physical health and motor skills, reduces the child’s ability to focus and retain details, and reduces interest, curiosity and incentive.

CFI also stated that children feel isolated from society; suffer from anxiety due to their socioeconomic status; face the consequences of their poverty; experience feelings of hopelessness; and are frustrated with the failure of society to assist in their struggles.

One step in the right direction is to demand reform from our local government. When large amounts of people want change, the government takes notice.

Our local government should fix this problem and help create jobs in the Valley. One of the most effective methods of getting rid of poverty is to help the economy by providing jobs. Jobs are a staple in life and are necessary for anyone who’s trying to make a living. Giving residents who live in poverty the opportunity to work and make ends meet is the most honorable actions our local officials can take part of.

Poverty is an issue that unfortunately is seen throughout the globe, but there are several ways the average Joe can help. Education is the solution, and we must help build the future by providing children with the tools they need to succeed.

Anthony Villarreal